Are You Making a Living or Living Your Life?

Leave a comment

I’ve been away from my blog for a while. Busy with the day to day tasks that can consume you. Busy with things that have taken me away from my family and away from what I love. It is so easy to get caught up in things we think are important or we think are making our lives better when in reality they are making our life meaningless. I read this quote recently and it made me take a look at how I was spending my time:

“Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.”

How many times have you said, “Not now” to your child, spouse, significant other or friend when they asked you to play a game, go to lunch or just spend time with them? Time passes so quickly that we cannot even see the moments we are losing. Soon your child will stop asking you to play a game or read them a story or tuck them in at night. Soon your significant other will stop asking you to watch a movie, go dancing or have a romantic dinner. Soon you will be older and wondering where did the time go? Moreover, you’ll be wondering what did you do with your time?

Are you so busy trying to make a living that you are not living your life? Are you to busy waiting for a special occasion to go out or wear that new dress or suit? Are waiting until the kids are grown or you retire to get that car you’ve always wanted? If you said yes, then my question to you is…”Why”?

Your special occasion is right now. Every day you wake and are in your right mind is a cause for celebration. Every day of your life is a gift and should be used preciously. I understand that we all need to work to support ourselves. However, don’t’ get that twisted. We work to support and enhance our life. We do not live to work.

Don’t spend your life just working and getting ahead, thinking that when I make it, I’ll go on vacation with the family, I’ll buy that car or house or whatever it is you keep putting off. Tomorrow is not promised to any of us. How do we know we will even live until “later”? A friend of mine, use to work long hours and answer emails in the evening and on weekends. Her husband would complain that she was always working and they would argue. I use to ask her why she was killing herself over this job? “Do you think if something happened to you and you could not work anymore that this company would take care of you the rest of your life? Let me tell you they would not.” I would tell her don’t think you are irreplaceable. Unfortunately, my friend was “downsized”. Soon thereafter, she realized that she wasted time on the company that she would never get back. Time she could have spent with her husband and young son. She felt cheated.

Therefore, I ask you “Are you making a living or living your life? Don’t put off things until “later”. Don’t wait to play with your kids. They grow so fast and before you know it, they’ll be gone living their own lives. Don’t take your spouse for granted, putting them last after work and the kids. They deserve valuable time with you. Don’t wait for a special occasion to use the China or the “good silverware” or drink that bottle of wine. Don’t wait until you retire to get the car of your dreams. Who knows if you’ll be able to enjoy it then?

Recent events in my life have reminded me how precious life is and that we are cheating ourselves if we do not make every moment count. I know it’s hard sometimes to balance everything that goes on in life. However, once you start living your life instead of “managing” your life, everything will come into focus. I pray that you will have the courage to live the life that was meant for you and not watch it slip away on meaningless moments.

Letting Things Go

3 Comments

very true.

I recently pinned this quote to my Pinterest board because I thought it was so simple yet complex.   I wanted to reflect and meditate upon it.  It made me think of how much we put on ourselves just because we do not let things go.  Things like envy, strife, hate, worry, guilt, and many other insecurities that lead us to carry around so much baggage.

It reminds me of a song by Eryka Badu, “Bag Lady”.  If you get a chance you should listen to the song because the lyrics can pertain to anyone.  I especially like the following verse:

     Bag lady you gone hurt your back
     Dragging all them bags like that
     I guess nobody ever told you
     All you must hold on to
     Is you, is you, is you

The song is a metaphoric.  The physical bags are a symbol of the “mental” baggage that we allow ourselves to pick up and never put down.  Although, the song is about a lady, all of us – men and woman – are guilty of carrying too many bags.  So many of us are so quick to say, “She/he has too much baggage and I can’t deal with that”.  Yet, we do not realize what we are holding onto.

It is important to realize that the baggage we carry affects us mentally and physically.  If we carry too many bags, we become immobile.  Stress can be debilitating.  How can we move on if we cannot put down the bags we are carrying and let go.  (Another song comes to mind “Let it Go” from the movie Frozen.  Yes, it’s from an animated film, but has a great message for not only kids, but adults too).

As we move through the first couple of months of this year, let’s not collect any more bags.  Instead, let us get rid of some.  Let’s forgive somebody who has wronged us.  Let’s forgive ourselves for something we have done wrong.  Let’s stop worrying about things that are out of our control.  Let’s stop comparing ourselves to someone else.  Let’s stop walking on eggshells worried that we are going to offend someone. It amazes me at how much people hide of themselves so they will not offend someone else.  When most of the time you are just sharing your opinion or stating the truth.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying just go out and be rude to everyone by saying whatever comes to mind – because, I am also a believer of the old adage, “If you don’t have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all”.  However, what I am saying is if you just focus on you and what you are able to control in your life, then those bags will disappear.

Don’t let things get so heavy and complicated that you get buried and lose yourself.  There’s no one like you and it would be such a waste to lose you because of some old baggage.  Let it go!

Quotes are Food for the Soul

Leave a comment

Have you ever read a quote and it resonated with you?  Did it leave an impression on your life?  That’s because quotes have a way of touching your soul.

They lift you up when you are down

They encourage you when you need support

They propel you forward when you are motionless

They help you remember where you’ve been

They keep you focused on where you are going

They open your mind to different points of view

They make you want to be a better you

They give you courage when you are afraid

They enable you to do the impossible

They help you to forgive

They make you think

They inspire you

They allow you to dream

They make you see the truth

They make you feel like you are not alone

They change your outlook on life…

Therefore, read a quote every day and nourish your soul!

 

To Travel is Better than to Arrive

1 Comment

I heard this phrase the other day and thought some of the simplest phrases have the most meaning.  Then I wondered if the person who said this was younger or older.  What a blessing it would be to realize this when you were young.  Then you would have so much more time to enjoy the journey.  You wouldn’t spend so much time trying to “arrive” because you would know the beauty of the ride.  You would know how precious every minute of every day would be.

There would be no pretense, or time limits to worry about.  That’s the stuff that keeps us from enjoying the ride.  The “I need to be married before I turn 30”.  “I need to make 6 figures before I’m…, I need to make partner in 5 years”, “I needed 500 followers by the end of the month” and so on.  Why do we put such constraints on ourselves?  Why are we carrying needless burdens?  Some may say we need to set goals in order to accomplish things.  However, we sometimes confuse goals with deadlines.  The things I just mentioned are deadlines because they are actions that involve other people.  Whereas, a goal should be something that is obtainable by you alone.

There is so much to taste, see, and experience as you travel.  Now that I think about it, I am not so sure if it’s better to realize this when you are young.  They say, a fine wine gets better as it ages.  Therefore, in that respect, we must get wiser as we get older.  When we are young, we are just beginning the journey.  Sometimes we don’t even know who we are let alone what path we should take.

I always hear people say, “If I knew then what I know now, I would have done things differently.  Yet, if you could do it over, would you? (Check out my earlier post- If you had a do over button, would you use it?).  Sometimes, the best part of the journey is the stumbles and falls and how we get back up.  The lessons we learn are what shape and build are character.

I think we all realize life is a journey at the time that is right for us.  We could be 16 or 32.  It doesn’t matter. What matters is that we make the most of every moment we have in life.  This ride is the only one we have.  Therefore, look out the window and daydream often.  Sing out loud.  Act silly with your kids…or friends.  Dance every day.  Love deeply and live with a purpose.

I’m enjoying the ride.  Are you?

In What Direction are You Heading?

3 Comments

As the New Year begins, it is usually a time for people to start new plans, goals or make “resolutions”.  Some want to lose weight, kick a habit or start a new endeavor.

I guess the New Year is a good time to start with a new slate.  It is the “official” starting time to do whatever it is you want to do.  The question is do you know what you want to do?  Or better yet, do you know in what direction you are heading?

Yes, it is easy to say I am going to lose weight this year or I am going to learn a new language or I am going to go back to school.  Yet, it is not so easily done.  What makes us think that we can accomplish any of these goals just because it is a new year?  Are the same reasons that kept us from achieving these goals in the past still present?  If so, we must identify them so we do not sit idly by, watching days, weeks, and eventually a year pass by.

If your roadblock is procrastination (for many of us it is), then you need to set mini goals each day to keep you moving in the right direction.  Let’s use losing weight as an example.  Perhaps your goal is to lose 20 pounds.  First we must right down our goal.  Next you need a visual aid, so you can see where you are headed.  You can use a goal chart and set up little rewards for certain milestones achieved.  You must decide how to get going – whether it be eating differently each day or exercise. The key is to do something that is realistic and that you will like.  If you set unrealistic goals then, you will get easily discouraged.

Next you need to eliminate anything that is not moving you toward your goal.  If you know that as soon as your turn on the television, you will be glued to it until you go to bed, then don’t turn it on.  You will be surprised at how much time you gain from not sitting in front of the television for hours.  Again, there is no need to go cold turkey, just start small by eliminating 30 minutes or 1 hour of television each day.  Another time consumer is reading.  Yes, reading.  Often times people are consumed by books and again spend hours reading and then have no time to do anything else.  Too much of anything is not good for you.

Once you have gotten the “excuses” out of your path, your focus should be clear.  However, you may need help to keep you moving forward once you have started toward your goal.  That could be a positive friend or family member that can keep you motivated when you start to waiver.   It could be a motivational quote or Bible verse that you meditate upon when obstacles arise.  Whatever your source of strength and encouragement, make sure you have it before you get moving.

Now I know there are many pieces of information out there on “how to do”.  They tell you the tools you need (and have to buy in most cases) and the time it will take you to complete the task or goal.  However, I find that they leave out one important thing – direction.  They do not know in what direction you are headed.  They do not know if you have backtracked several times or are moving sideways because you are afraid to move forward but you know you cannot move backwards.  There is only one person that knows in what direction you are moving – you.  That is the same person that has to have the will to keep moving in the right direction and determination to stay focused on the goal.  Remember you are not on a trip; you are on the journey of your life.  Set your course and do not let anything deter you from your purpose.  Naturally, there will be detours and breakdowns along the way, but you are not running a race, you are living your life!  Live it with purpose and direction and you can accomplish what you set out to do.

Closure – Is it an Ending or Beginning?

1 Comment

What is closure and why do we need it?  The dictionary defines closure as a feeling of finality or resolution.   Do we need someone else’s approval or confirmation to feel resolved?

I never thought I would struggle with closure – and certainly not with a friend.  Yet I found myself not knowing why we were not friends anymore.  The communication just became one way.  Then there was no reply.  No reply from a person who shared their secrets, fears and aspirations with me.  No response from someone I thought I knew – keyword “thought”.

Then I found the need to know why?  What happen?  Why was that person conversing with other friends we had in common, but not me?  I told myself maybe it’s just a phase…but the phase became a year – a year of not knowing why.

Sure, there were days and weeks that I forgot about my “friend”.  Yet people we knew in common would bring the person up in conversation.  I would see her comments on Instagram or Twitter.  Then of course the questions of why would ramble in my head.  I would think why am I wasting my time on someone who obviously has no concern for me.  Then calmness would turn into anger.  However, who was I angry at?  The answer was me.

We all have intuition.  There were times in the friendship, were I thought the person was self-absorbed and did not give as much as she took.  I even thought that I should slowly involve myself less with her.  So why was I surprised when she stopped texting, calling and wanting to get together for lunch.   I knew that perhaps this was a friendship for a season and not for a lifetime.  Yet, I still needed to know, why.

Does it really matter?  What is her telling me “why” going to do?  Was it going to erase the time I spent on wondering?  Would it erase what I felt?  No, it would not.  You see what she has to say does not define me.  I am the only one who has the power to move on.  The why would just be the beginning.  The beginning of explaining and understanding and feeling awful.  Therefore, I do not need “closure” because it is not the ending.  I had already resolved my feelings for the friendship.  I knew it was  not enhancing my life.  I knew that before it ended.

I forgot one important thing – no one can make you feel a certain way unless you allow it.  Therefore, you do not need closure to move forward in your life.  You just need to trust yourself and believe in the power you possess to live your life fully.  Don’t ever let words define you – certainly not this one!

The Search for Happiness

2 Comments

What is happiness?  Is it just an emotion or a state of mind?  Does it lie within your control or does something or someone else control your happiness?

To answer these questions, you must first determine what happiness means to you.  Does it mean having the high paying job, the perfect husband or wife, or the big house?  Does it mean starting your own business, giving back to the community, being a parent or just being healthy?  Finding out how you relate to happiness, will help you define its meaning.

I have learned that happiness is a state of mind.  You can choose to be happy or choose not to be happy.  When you wake up in the morning, you can be thankful for seeing another day or grouchy because it is gloomy and rainy.  In this case, happiness is not determined by the weather but in how you perceive the weather.  The weather will always be.  It is something that we cannot control.  Therefore, why let it control how you are feeling?

I know this may sound simple – in fact, to simple.  However, when you stop and think about it, it should be simple.  If you choose to be happy regardless of your circumstances, you can be happy.

Many people think they need something or someone to make them happy.  Well, that is not necessarily true.  Nothing and certainly no one should have that much control over you.  When you put your happiness in someone else, you will inevitably be disappointed.  Reason being, people are imperfect.  How can something as important as your happiness be left to a person other than you?  Sure, people can add to your happiness or do things that make you feel better.  Yet, they cannot be your sole reason for being happy.  If they are, then you will never truly be happy.

Stop trying to find things or people to make you happy.  The power is already inside of you.  Speak things into being.  Remember words have power.  Everything that you need to be happy is inside of you.  Stop searching.  Stop pursuing happiness.  Just let happiness be…be your state of mind.

Are You Able to Forgive?

1 Comment

Are you walking around angry with someone and just not dealing with it?  By not speaking to them, are you really not dealing with it?  Every day you may be thinking about it.  Every day it is festering inside of you.  Then when you see the person, the feelings surface again.  Therefore, you may THINK that you are pushing it to the side.  You may THINK by not talking to that person that you are not dealing with it.  However, by making that decision that is how you are choosing to deal with the situation. 

I know it is much harder to just speak nicely to that person, say hi, or smile.  Nonetheless, this is something that you must do.  At first, when you smile you may not mean it and that is okay.  Yet the more you do it, the easier it becomes.  Then before you know it all that angst, anger, and resentment is gone.  Then you feel so much better.  The first time I put this practice in place, I was amazed how good I felt afterwards.  I felt so much better, by letting it go, truly letting it go.  My soul was renewed and refreshed.  By forgiving that person, you are forgiving yourself.  Besides that person may not even know they have wronged you.  However, you are all upset and for what?  For nothing.  They are living their life not thinking about you.  So why are you thinking about them?  Let it go.

For example, you do not know that person that cut you off while driving.  Nevertheless, you get angry and may start calling them names, etc.  Then you go to work and tell somebody about it and get all worked up again.  You do not even know who that person is!  This is such wasted energy.  Your time is too valuable to be spent on such insignificant conversations.  In addition, your health is affected and can manifest in headaches or high blood pressure.  

Just sit back for a minute and look at the situation.  Is all the ill will worth it?  Do you feel better by talking badly about someone?  On the other hand, are you causing stress on your body?  Is your blood pressure rising?  Are you defaming someone’s character?  Don’t you know that words can kill…literally?  They cannot only kill you but they can kill others.  We read all too often about kids committing suicide due to cyber bullying.  My first post was about the power of words.  We have such power and do not even realize or comprehend it.

You have to realize that what you portray outwardly, affects you internally.  Perhaps it is human nature to be upset for that moment in time.  However, this is when we need to learn to control our emotion – to be in control of who we are and of our life.  To make our life abundant and healthy, we must learn to forgive.  Numerous things that go wrong in our lives are a result of us not being able to forgive.  People often-go crazy and become obsessed because they cannot forgive.  While it is not always an easy thing to do, it is a skill that can be acquired and one that definitely needs to be practiced.  Once you are able to do it, it is a blessing.  It is a blessing to you and the people around you because it begets a good-natured spirit and a healthy life.    

Please understand if you cannot forgive someone else, then you cannot receive your blessing.  You see, you are blessed so that you can be a blessing to someone else.  Therefore, learn to forgive so you can receive your gift and your blessing and be the person that you were meant to be!

Are You Living in the Moment?

Leave a comment

Do you rush from day to day or week to week?  When it’s Wednesday are you thinking, “Oh, it’s two more days until Friday!”

Why are you rushing and wishing your days away?  What is the hurry?  What are you doing with your life that prevents you from taking the time to breathe?

We are given a gift everyday…to start anew, to be refreshed, to inspire someone, to encourage someone, to live to our full potential, to be a blessing in someone’s life, and to learn.

We were put here for a purpose – not to waste our time, not to hurry our time, but to live in our time.  Many of us worry because we are thinking about the next hour, the next day, the next week or the next month.  Moreover, we do not really appreciate what we have right now.  As this minute goes by, we will never have it again.  We will never be able to live this moment again.

Think of all the minutes you have wasted.  All the time you have spent on needless worry or things out of your control.  Tomorrow is not promised to any of us.  Therefore, the future is a gift.  So live in the present.

Enjoy life.  Think of it as your favorite ride at an amusement park.  It could be from when you were a kid or even now.  Remember the excitement you had and that you never wanted it to end.  If you were like me, you always thought the ride was too short.  Well, the only difference between that ride and your life is that you only get to stand in line once – you only get one ride.

Therefore, if you knew this was your last ride and you could never ride again, would you act differently?  Would you savor each moment while you were on the ride?  Would you take in the view if you were up high and try to remember it all?

Now you may be saying life is much more complex than an amusement park ride.  However, is it?  Life is what you make it.  What you create in each moment is uniquely yours.  Every minute you are creating and enhancing your ride, your journey.

Therefore, why would you ever want to rush your favorite ride before it was over?  When you think about it that way, it does not make sense to rush from minute to minute.  Slow down, watch the sunrise, read a book to your child, call your mother, talk with your best friend (not text), take a walk with your significant other or take a yoga class.

Whatever you do, be present.  Do not miss the beauty of your life.  Live in the moment and you will stop wishing for tomorrow.

Older Entries